One bright spot for Democrats on election night: Liberal stalwart Rep. Raul M. Grijalva apparently held onto his congressional seat representing southern Arizona.
Grijalva, a four-term representative who had easily won reelection in the past, got into trouble after urging a boycott of his state once it enacted a tough immigration law in April. Grijalva, 62, said the law would promote racial profiling.
After portions of the law were suspended by a federal court judge, he reversed course. But Republican Ruth McClung, a 28-year-old political novice and engineer at a defense contractor, pulled within striking distance.
With 99.6% of precincts reporting, Grijalva held a lead of 48% to 46% over McClung on Wednesday morning. Grijalva declared victory, but McClung had not conceded.
On Monday the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared inclined to agree with the federal judge's July ruling, which said the controversial law, SB 1070, usurped the federal government's sole authority to regulate immigration.
The three-judge panel, however, suggested during a hearing in San Francisco that the state may be permitted to require police to investigate the immigration status of suspected criminals.